When people in the workplace confront shift, rift, zooming, and all of the other challenges that make up business life, there is one thread that runs through all of the choices that they make: Either they’re torchbearers, or they’re not.
~ Seth Godin
Something I talk often about is goal visualization. I’m a firm believer in the idea that “close” and “almost” do not pass muster. When I’m working, and when I’m helping others work, I visualize the goal: We need a door in this wall. It has to be this high, and wide enough for furniture to pass through. And the more specific the goal, the better. The door itself need not be insulated, but it should match the decor of the rooms on either side. It needs an easy to use, single-handle latch/door knob combination. When work begins, I then use the goal as a decision razor: For every choice—every choice, no exceptions—does this option or solution move me towards the goal? Is this a detour that moves me farther from the goal, but then makes it much easier later. [Otherwise known as front-loading work.] Along the way I visualize the state of the world at each step; We’ll knock a hole in the wall on Tuesday—wait, we have a dinner party on Friday… can we be done by Friday?
I’m not only imagining the goal. I’m imagining every single step along the way. What can go wrong? What can go better-than-expected, and what if anything should we do with that gain? And why did we choose this path? …maybe we should re-assess that decision and go this other way, now that we have this new intel having come this far? How important is this goal? …is this a goal to reach at all costs? …can we move the goal now that we have new knowledge? Can we shift some of the work into a next segment of work, shifting our current goal onto an intermediate point along the way to the ultimate goal.